SEADREAM YACHT CLUB Travel Agent Training Sessions


“Brain to Brain---Not Eyeball to Eyeball,” says Pimentel

COCONUT GROVE, FL---SeaDream Yacht Club has launched an ongoing series of travel agent training sessions on the marketing and selling of its twin mega yachts, SeaDream I and II, to individual travelers or for full ship charters.
Nothing new in that: Most travel suppliers have a battery of regional sales folks who fan out across the land from travel agency to travel agency with desk top computers and power-point presentations.
But, SeaDream, which has no team of regional sales “reps,” is doing things differently. These travel agent training sessions are by conference telephone call and they are---cost efficient, time efficient and highly effective.
Larry Pimentel, CTC, Chairman and CEO of SeaDream, says “We are a small, entrepreneurial and highly specialized travel supplier for the extreme upper end of the market. And frankly, we can’t afford an expensive sales force.
“Our business model is based on SeaDream providing an ultra-luxurious yachting experience to a few discerning travelers. In order to do this we need to operate within a tight budget and be highly selective as to how we spend our funds---most of which are plowed back into making the product the best leisure time experience available.
“Our telephone conference training sessions are certainly cost effective---no big payroll and no expensive travel and per diem costs. As to the effectiveness of our system, since we began these sessions on a trial basis three months ago, we have trained about 500 agents. That’s two sessions per week with 20 agents directly participating by telephone. We estimate that as many as 10 or more other agency workers are listening by the use of hands-free speakers,” he states.
Has it worked?
Pimentel says: “The superiority of our yachting product, together with the aggressive pricing initiatives we instituted to compensate for the present unsettled attitudes about travel, are definitely working. We are less than one year old at this time. We can’t compare apples to apples. But suffice it to say, we are pleased with our progress. In July we experienced a week with more than $1 million in net sales. We hit a wave in a non-wave period.”
“So our training sessions are not eyeball to eyeball,” he concludes. “They’re brain to brain.”
How do the SeaDream Training Sessions work?
Agents contact SeaDream and request to be included. Sessions are exactly one hour including time devoted to questions and answers. Each participating agent uses the current SeaDream brochure to follow along.
The sessions are conducted by Bob Lepisto, Vice President Sales and Marketing and Gretchen Bell, Director, Business Development and National Accounts. Pimentel, highly-regarded for a long history of presenting travel agent seminars, frequently plays a role in the conference calls.
SeaDream offers three separate, one hour training sessions---beginning, advanced and a special session for those wishing to explore full-ship charters and incentives.
Those travel agents interesting in participating in a SeaDream training session are invited to telephone 1 800 707-4911 to request a time slot.
SeaDream Yacht Club is the yachting venture by Norwegian entrepreneur Atle Brynestad who founded Seabourn Cruise Line and Larry Pimentel, who was president of Seabourn under Brynestad and later president and CEO of the merged Cunard and Seabourn. Pimentel is Chairman and CEO of the Coconut Grove, Florida-headquartered SeaDream Yacht Club and a co-owner. The company operates SeaDream I and SeaDream II, twin, ultra luxury, mega yachts that operate on seven-day sailings in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. The yachts are not only ideal for discerning travelers seeking an unstructured and casual holiday experience but also for small meetings and incentive groups or individual private family gatherings. They are available for full charter. The SeaDream Yacht Club reservations number is 1 800 707-4911. The website is